As they prepare in Dubai, Matt McKay says the Socceroos must steel themselves for what he says will be a roller-coaster ride in their quest to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Russia 2018.
Ange Postecoglou’s Asian Champions start the long road to the next World Cup with a clash against minnows Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek next Tuesday.
McKay is one of only six players that was their at this stage four years ago that stayed the course all the way to the tournament in Brazil last year.
So his advice for the youngsters in the current squad should be heeded if the Socceroos are to make it to a fourth straight World Cup.
“It’s an extremely hard road, you’ve got to keep positive the whole way through,” McKay told FFA TV.
“You are going to have your ups and downs as a team and also individually. It’s about remaining positive and trying to improve your games and that will ultimately help the team.
“Qualification for the World Cup is a long process, we’ve got 18 games to qualify for this tournament.
“We’ve seen in the past it’s not easy, there will be challenges but as long as we stay together we should be a good shout to make our fourth World Cup in a row in Russia.”
Admitting he doesn’t know much about the Socceroos first opponents in Kyrgyzstan, McKay says it will only be themselves that would see the side slip-up against the world’s 177th-ranked nation.
“There always a danger you could drop your standards,” McKay said.
“It’s important we keep our high tempo and the way we’ve played in previous games. We’ve continually grown the team and if we can go there and be positive we should have no problem.
“But it’s very difficult travelling to these countries, especially since the move to Asia. Kyrgyzstan we’ll be no different, we’ll face our challenges there.
“I know the coaching staff have done their homework and we’ll be prepared for whatever challenges we face.”